Loud Earbuds, Headphones Are Mayor Bloomberg's Latest Crusade

Wednesday, 06 Mar 2013 03:18 PM

By Michael Mullins

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest target in his campaign to force residents to take better care of themselves is loud music delivered through headphones and earbuds

To prevent hearing loss, Bloomberg is encouraging residents to not play loud music through the divices, the New York Post reported. So far there are no bans or ordinances -- just encouragement being pauid for with a grant.

Bloomberg has organized an awareness program through the city's department of health that will target the city's young people through social media.

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"With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players and risks of loud and long listening," said Nancy Clark, assistant commissioner of environmental-disease prevention at the health department.

The $250,000 campaign will be financed through a grant received by the health department’s fund-raising arm, the Fund for Public Health, the Post reported.

Using social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the Hearing Loss Prevention Media Campaign will conduct focus group interviews with teens and young adults of the so-called iPod generation, who use earbuds that are inserted into the ear.

The fact that today's earbuds go inside the ear, in combination with the fact that iPods and MP3 have longer battery lives than ever before that leads to longer periods of listening, poses an unprecedented risk to a person's hearing, experts claim.

Researchers say an 85-decibel volume is considered safe to listen to, but iPods allow for a maximum volume of 115 decibels.

Between 1988 and 2006, hearing loss among teens has increased by 30 percent, according to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

This isn't the first time Bloomberg has attempted to tackle the hearing-loss issue.

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In 2005, the mayor signed the "Operation Silent Night" law, which cracked down on nightclubs blasting loud music and construction sites using continuously-running jack hammers, in an attempt to "make New York quieter and more livable," the Post reported.

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